Eric Clapton Struggling to Play Guitar, Damage to Nervous System

. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Eric Clapton, one of the most iconic guitarists of the rock era,  is struggling to play the instrument on which he made his name.

Clapton, 71, said damage to his nervous system had made it hard for him to play the guitar because of the illness.

“I’ve had quite a lot of pain over the last year. It started with lower back pain, and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy – which is where you feel like you have electric shocks going down your leg,” he told Classic Rock magazine.

“And I’ve had to figure out how to deal with some other things from getting old.’’

For years Clapton, whose career encompassed playing with John Mayall, Cream and the first “super group” Blind Faith, lived a life of rock and roll excess.

He struggled with addiction to alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine and heroin.

“Because I’m in recovery from alcoholism and addiction to substances, I consider it a great thing to be alive at all. By rights I should have kicked the bucket a long time ago.

“For some reason I was plucked from the jaws of hell and given another chance,’ he said.

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